The Drifter (Episode 2.19)

Executive Producer Frank Price
Produced by Winston Miller
Teleplay by Carey Wilbur
Story by Frank Fenton
Directed by Don McDougall

What are you looking for?

Episode scene:

(This episode uses flashback to describe the Virginian's arrival in Medicine Bow and the beginning of his friendship with Judge Garth.) There is a war between the Judge and a neighbor, Miles Peterson. The Virginian is hired by Peterson after he helps one of Peterson's men escape a beating by some Shiloh hands. One evening he encounters Peterson's daughter Maria and they get to talking about his drifting from job to job. “What are you looking for?” she asks and he answers “I’ll know that when I find it.”

Quotation from the book:

Along Bear Creek...Molly and [the Virginian] took a ride soon after her return....and she was telling him about Vermont. “I never was there,” said he. “Never happened to strike in that direction.” “What decided your direction?” “Oh, looking for chances. I reckon I must have been more ambitious than my brothers -- or more restless.”



Did I holler?

Episode scene:

When the Virginian gets too close to Maria, Peterson's foreman arranges to have him killed as part of a plan to take over the ranch. But the Virginian is found more dead than alive by none other than Judge Garth, who takes him to a line shack and removes the bullet from his shoulder. When the Virginian first awakens in the line shack, he asks the Judge if he “hollered” when the bullet was being “dug out”. The judge answers “That's the first time I had hope for you. I figured any man that could holler like that wasn't about to die. ” Later, back at Shiloh, the Judge tells him “Incidentally, you talked a lot when you were out of your head.” and when he is met by the Virginian's look of concern, he adds “Nothing I'm going to repeat, not even to you.”

Quotation from the book:

...together the dame and the girl rinsed the man’s wound and wrapped him in clean things, and did all the little that they knew - which was, in truth, the very thing needed. Then they sat watching him toss and mutter. It was no longer upon Indians or the sorrel horse that his talk seemed to run, or anything recent, apparently, always excepting his work. This flowingly merged with whatever scene he was inventing or living again, and he wandered unendingly in that incompatible world we dream in. Through the medley of events and names, often thickly spoken, but rising at times to grotesque coherence, the listeners now and then could piece out the reference from their own knowledge....With the approach of the second night his fever seemed to rise and master him more completely than they had yet seen it, and presently it so raged that the women called in stronger arms to hold him down. There were times when he broke out in the language of the round-up...

Additional comments:

  1. See also The Gauntlet.


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(Compilation © 2002 by Alice Munzo. All rights reserved.)
(Updated 1/2/2010)